Tuesday, April 15, 2014

That's It, Twitter Is Over

Okay, folks, what's Rule #1 about being in an airport? The very first task anyone in the facility knows by heart to fulfill?

That's right. 'Don't make a bomb joke'. Over and above those tiny little details like actually getting on your plane. Even more imperative than that is to not make any wisecracks about bombs or terror threats or anything of the sort. Don't even say the word 'bomb'. Don't even allude to the word 'bomb'. Because if you can't follow that simple rule, the airport people are not going to be happy with you. Aside from things like being interrogated and going to jail, you will miss your plane.

This rule does not stop applying if you are not at the airport. The airport people will also be angry if you merely tweet a bomb joke at them. You might have heard about the case of a 14-year-old girl from Rotterdam, Netherlands identifying herself on Twitter as Sarah (but who will officially be going unidentified due to her age). She tweeted to American Airlines in a joking manner that she was actually a guy named Ibrahim, was a member of Al Qaeda, and would be doing something "really big" on June 1st. She was then shocked- shocked!- when American Airlines tweeted back that they are going to be involving the authorities. And sure enough, Sarah was arrested in Rotterdam this morning and her Twitter account has been suspended and her address already claimed by someone else.

That would have been bad enough. But then came the copycats. In response to this chain of events, what the Washington Post counts as "at least a dozen other people" have made joke bomb threats of their own to American Airlines. I fully expect at least some of these people to also be arrested, if not all of them. Because as we have already established, airlines do not screw around with this. At all. It is standard operating procedure to treat each and every one of the threats they get deadly seriously, because they are sure as hell not about to let a plane get blown up and then try to explain their inaction to grieving families and a grieving nation afterward by going 'well, we thought it was a joke, so we didn't follow up on it'. No no. Not going to happen. You joke about a bomb in front of airport types, you go to jail. The end. They don't give a damn if you're joking.

May we consider this a lesson not to blindly follow everything that looks like it could be turned into a meme? Consider first whether it should.

Jesus Christ. You'd think we wouldn't have to go over this.

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